Crime

Video Shows a Miami Beach Detective Punch a Handcuffed Woman in the Face


On Friday, the Miami Beach Police Department announced that a detective had been suspended for 160 hours for violating department policies on use of force and handling prisoners in custody. The suspension stemmed from a case where Archer had punched a Good Samaritan in the head, but it turns out the IA's findings weren't related to that confrontation.

Instead, Det. Philippe Archer's punishment stemmed from his conduct in the parking garage back at MBPD headquarters. Surveillance video obtained by New Times shows Archer punching a handcuffed woman in the face and then kicking her. Investigators say Archer broke department rules by attacking the woman and later failed to note the attack in his official report. Archer also forced a man he'd injured to take a photo with him.

Here's the video:
 

Miami Beach Cop Punches Suspect in Handcuffs from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

 
Archer, in blue, is seen punching and then kicking Megan Adamescu after she lashes out at him with a leg — even though the woman is handcuffed and already heavily bandaged on her head.


The attack comes after Archer had arrested Adamescu, a 29-year-old model clad in a bikini top, outside a South Beach condo. Ademescu had allegedly been intoxicated and uncooperative when the detective tried to interview her. That arrest went awry, though, when Andrew Mossberg — a nearby resident passing the scene — thought the plainclothes Archer was mugging the young woman and tried to intervene.

Mossberg later claimed Archer repeatedly kicked him in the head when he called 911 to report what he thought was a crime in progress. 

Neither internal affairs investigators nor prosecutors charged Archer with any wrongdoing over that confrontation.

But the detective's conduct in the parking garage afterward is a different story. Footage of Archer's attack on Adamescu was reviewed by FBI investigators and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. Both declined to charge Archer in the incident. (A spokesman for State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle hasn't returned New Times' request for comment on the video; we'll update this post when we hear back.) 

Internal affairs investigators reviewed the same footage, though, and Friday suspended Archer 160 hours for his conduct. They also cited him for later taking a photo while smiling with his arm around Mossberg, whose head and face were heavily bandaged.

 
"You knew you should have reported and documented the events at the police station, you knew that taking a photo with a prisoner was inappropriate, you knew you should have properly secured the prisoners, and you knew you used excessive force," IA investigators wrote in their final report. "Your lack of judgment and your poor decisions defy your tenure as a Miami Beach Police Officer of 19 years."

Mossberg, who is pursuing a civil lawsuit against the city, says he hopes the release of the video forces further action from the department.

"I really hope this helps in getting MBPD cleaned up," says Mossberg, who owns a company that does home automation system design and programming. "As a property owner and business owner here, I have a big stake in having a competent and safe police force in Miami Beach."

Update: Miami-Dade prosecutors declined to charge Archer for punching Adamescu because the video wasn't clear enough to "prove a criminal intent on the part of the subject," according to a closeout memo provided to New Times

Here's the full statement from the State Attorney's Office on their decision not to prosecute the cop:

Close Out Memo


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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink